When people think about life insurance, they often associate it with personal and relationship milestones. Getting married, starting a family and buying a home are all common reasons for taking out a policy. While these are all excellent reasons to consider life insurance, people may not consider how their career path may also affect their insurance needs.

Career milestones and choices can shape our financial situation, which in turn may change our life insurance needs over time. Here are five times when work may influence your life insurance choices.

Starting your career

For many young adults, getting that first “real” job is an exciting time. Bringing home a good salary (maybe for the first time in your working life) might mean you’re able to save more money for things like travel, marriage or buying a first home. Life insurance is one way to help secure this promising future.

Life insurance can cover more than just a person’s death. Some policies will pay the benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, or may offer optional extras that payout should you suffer a serious accident or become permanently disabled. The money can be used to help cover household bills, pay for ongoing medical treatment or allow you to take extended leave from work while you recover.

Getting a promotion

Being promoted is a big step forward, and may also mean a big jump in your take-home pay. As you move further up the career ladder, you might upgrade your lifestyle with each salary raise. You may also need to update your life insurance to reflect these changes.

People often collect assets as they progress through their career. A new car, home renovations or investment properties could potentially mean more life insurance cover is needed to help protect your family’s financial future. You may consider increasing your policy’s benefit amount to allow loved ones to completely pay off the mortgage or to maintain their current lifestyle, should you no longer be able to provide for them.

Becoming your own boss

Owning your own business is a dream for many. However, the perks of being a business owner also come with some financial risk. Life insurance may be an important part of your small business strategy.

It often takes new businesses several years to turn a profit. Owners may need to use their personal savings to cover start-up costs or ongoing business expenses, as well as take out loans to fund their dream. Life insurance could help protect your family as you build your business. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, the payout could help pay off business loans, replenish your personal savings or allow them to continue the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to provide them.

Pausing your career

There may come a time when you or your partner need to leave the workforce, either temporarily or permanently. This may come after the birth of a child, to care for an aging parent, or simply because you need a break. It may make sense to keep or update your life insurance cover during this time.

Many people insure the life of their household’s primary breadwinner, but stop short at covering a stay-at-home partner. While they may not bring home a pay check, it would be expensive to hire someone to do all the jobs a stay-at-home partner or caregiver does. A life insurance policy covering them may make sense, as it could be used to pay for childcare, housekeeping or any other assistance needed around the home.

Reaching retirement

Retirement is the end career goal for many of us, the ultimate reward for a life of hard work. It may also be a time to reassess your life insurance needs. Depending on your needs and wishes, it may be appropriate to decrease the benefit amount or leave it at is.

As you approach retirement age, you may have less debt than when you were younger. If a mortgage, car payments and other loans are no longer a concern, it may make sense to lower your life insurance cover. You might also decide to keep your current cover amount or increase it, and use the policy as a form of inheritance for one or more family members.

Life insurance could be an important part of protecting you and your family’s financial future. Whether you’re fulfilling personal or professional goals, a policy could help you live the life you want with more peace of mind.